First-hand experience of man-elephant conflict in Denkanikottai
Some time in the early hours of Monday 9th February 2009, a young elephant and her calf found their way to the outskirts of Denkanikottai town. The commotion this caused forced this pair to walk down about 4 kms skirting a school, houses farms etc to a lake about a kilometer off the Hosur Denkanikottai road.
They spent the entire day waiting out the hot sun, calmly eating the lush grass around the lake and generally hiding in the cool rushes. A crowd gathered around them meanwhile and nearly the entire forest department turned up to control things.
The elephants displayed no nervousness or aggression. As the day cooled and the sun began go down, they calmly emerged from the water and made their way back to the jungles with some coaxing by the watchers and public.
It was nice to see the watchers attired in the uniforms provided by KANS. The huge pockets were very handy to carry fire crackers used to chase the elephants back to the jungles.
This was my first experience of wild elephants coming into contact with humans. There was no conflict as both the people and the elephants seemed tolerant of each other. However, such contacts are quite frequent and I am told that things can take a turn for the worse just as easily.
Sanjeev Kumar S.R
Kenneth Anderson Nature Society